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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  October 17, 2014 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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through the scrutiny and share all the details whereas the guy says, i'm drawing lines, it's not anybody's business and i'm not going to grovel for your forgiveness has to leave and never come back. >> it's a fantastic book. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. have a wonderful weekend. "the situation room" with wolf blitzer is next. happening now, breaking news, new restrictions for health care workers who may have been exposed to the ebola virus. what drastic actions are texas officials asking of dozens of hospital staff members. ebola czar, the white house bows to pressure and has a pointman. is it too little too late? discharged. the son of vice president joe biden kicked out of the u.s. navy reserve after failing a drug test. what do the results show in his system? new focus, a twist in the search for a missing college student. will this new direction finally solve the mystery of what happened to hannah graham.
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i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we're following breaking news. new restrictions for health care workers who treated thomas eric duncan, the liberian man with the first case of ebola diagnosed here in the united states. state officials are asking dozens of staff at texas health presbyterian hospital to sign an agreement stating they'll avoid commercial travel and public gatherings for 21 days, that's the maximum incubation period of the ebola virus. and a top dallas health official who was at duncan's bedside is now being monitored himself for symptoms of ebola. we're covering all angles of the breaking news with our correspondents, our guests, including congressman peter king, a member of the house homeland security committee. let's begin with our aviation correspondent rene marsh. she has much more on the growing fear about possible exposure to the ebola virus. what's the latest? >> wolf, the cdc and frontier airlines are working the phones notifying hundreds of passengers
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on vinson's first flight. she went from dallas to cleveland. we know that there were 153 people on board. on her second flight which flew from cleveland right back to dallas, there were 132 passengers on board. the cdc is still in the process of contacting everyone. but the airline says it has notified all passengers on both of these flights. the airline going a step further, even contacting people who later flew on this plane. we're talking about the one that went from cleveland to dallas. that plane, once it landed and once vinson was off of the plane, it made five other trips. when you add it up, we're talking about up to 800 passengers being notified. and all of this is because health officials are concerned vinson could have had symptoms earlier than originally thought, potentially exposing more people. >> she rested for a long time on some days. she said she felt funny.
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those types of things, but nothing specific. we can't rule out that she wasn't ill, okay, for the time that she was here in ohio. so we're going to be very conservative. we're going to be very aggressive. >> health officials are monitoring 16 people in northeast ohio because they were either in the vicinity of or had contact with vinson. that includes her stepfather, her mother, we're told is under self-quarantine at a dallas hotel. and two employees at that ohio bridal shop where vinson visited, they're also self-quarantined. >> and there's also an ebola scare on a carnival cruise ship. tell our viewers what we know. >> that's right. when we're talking about this cruise ship here, it's on the water as we speak, making its way to galveston, texas. what we can tell you is a lab supervisor from the hospital where this ebola patient, thomas eric duncan, died -- this lab
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worker is quarantined, self-quarantined within her cabin on board this cruise ship. the woman never had direct contact with duncan. but she may have had contact with his samples. so they're doing this out of an abundance of caution. the ship is currently, as i said, returning to texas. we should note, mexico refused to allow it to dock. that was one of the stops along this seven-day cruise. and also a request by the united states government to evacuate the passenger through belize. that was rejected. we should note, she has no symptoms at this point. >> it goes to underscore how concerned people are all over the world. mexico wouldn't let it dock. belize wouldn't let it even accept this one passenger. we'll continue to watch this story. thanks very much. for the first time, we're getting a look at one of the american ebola patients in the hospital, dramatic images of dallas nurse nina pham, now in isolation at the national institutes of health here in the washington, d.c. area in bethesda, maryland.
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cnn's brian todd is over at n.i.h. for us. what's the latest on her condition? >> reporter: well, wolf, nina pham was listed in good condition earlier this week. she is now downgraded to fair condition. but officials here say that is a result of fatigue from her trip here from dallas. last night, we got new pictures to show you from inside the plane and other aspects of that voyage from dallas to maryland last night. now nina pham is under the care of some highly trained and highly protected team of specialists. the 26-year-old nurse who volunteered to treat ebola patient zero in the u.s. is upbeat after having to switch from one isolation unit to another. moments later, she gets emotional, knowing she's about to leave. now nina pham's isolation is more intense. she's sealed off inside a
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high-containment chamber, the special clinical studies unit at the national institutes of health. doctors say she's sitting up and responsive. >> she's interactive with the staff. she's eating. she is able to interact freely and really think she's doing quite well compared to what we were told about her status at the other hospital. >> reporter: the other hospital, texas health presbyterian in dallas, asked to have pham transferred. much of the hospital's staff who treated thomas eric duncan is being monitored for symptoms. at least 50 health care workers there may have been exposed to ebola. that facility simply couldn't handle pham's treatment. in the n.i.h. isolation chamber, pham's in a room with powered air purifying respirators, meaning no outside air gets in and air from that room doesn't get out. at any given time, one infectious disease doctor and one critical care doctor are with her. they'll work in 12-hour shifts.
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five nurses are on each shift, two of them in a room with pham at a given time. they're all in hazmat suits and the buddy system is crucial. >> you have a very strict system of getting dressed with someone watching you going in, coming out, getting undressed with someone watching you. we have a limited amount of time when the person can be in the room so that they don't get fatigu fatigued. that's what keeps our health care workers safe. >> reporter: experts say there's no direct treatment for ebola, so they're likely going to treat pham's symptoms. >> she's going to be receiving fluids, having potassium and other electrolytes repleted. she'll be monitored for infection and if she gets an infection, she'll get antibiotics. >> reporter: nina pham had a critical procedure before she got here, that was a blood transfusion from dr. kent brantly, the ebola patient who contracted the virus in africa and he survived. dr. anthony fauci says that transfusion was critical because
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brantly had antibodies in his system that fought off the virus. dr. fauci says of nina pham, quote, we are committed to having this patient walk out of this hospital. wolf? >> that would be excellent, excellent news, brian. what about the other facilities? how many other facilities are there? i take it not very many, like the one at n.i.h. where you are right now. if there are more ebola patients, more cases in the united states, and there's fear there could be some more. >> reporter: there is fear there could be more. and that's a real concern. there are only four facilities in the united states like this one, high-containment facilities. this facility, one at emory university, one in nebraska and one in missoula, montana. and one health expert told us today if there are more cases of ebola whether they're going to have enough beds, facilities to treat a lot more patients. we hope they keep that patient tally down. but there are only two beds for ebola patients here at n.i.h. and nina pham is in one of them. >> they only have 17 at all the
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other three facilities, that's what i've heard. is that right? >> reporter: i believe that's close to it, wolf. when you talk about 50 health workers just at texas health presbyterian hospital who are now being monitored for possible exposure to ebola, you can see what they're up against if more cases develop. >> brian, stand by. we'll get back to you. president obama now bowing to growing calls for a pointman to lead the federal response to the crisis as cnn first reported earlier today. he's tapping former chief of staff to the vice president joe biden and the former vice president al gore to be the country's so-called ebola czar. our senior white house correspondent jim acosta is following the story. seems like there's been a shift in white house strategy as far as the ebola czar is considered over the past few days? >> reporter: a big shift. and the white house is not calling ron klain a czar. he's what they're calling the, quote, ebola response coordinator. and unlike a czar, klain will not be his own boss.
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hammered for days over its lack of ebola leadership, the white house is confident a remedy is now in place. >> we've got an all hands on deck approach across government to make sure that we are keeping the american people safe. >> reporter: the latest hands on deck, ron klain, tapped to become the president's ebola response coordinator, a former chief of staff to both vice presidents joe biden and al gore, klain was made famous during the 2000 election recount and the film that followed. >> mr. vice president, our battle is not yet done. >> reporter: but klain has no medical experience. what does ron klain know about ebola? >> what we were looking for is not an ebola expert but rather an implementation expert. >> reporter: republicans were quick to pounce. >> i'm not sure what appointing someone that has no experience in health care or public health administration is going to do to help stem the tide of ebola in west africa and protect the public health of americans here at home.
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>> reporter: aides say klain is no all-powerful czar, he'll report to susan rice and counterterrorism adviser lisa monaco who answer to the president. earlier this week, the white house insisted monaco could handle the task of being the ebola point person. he could do that and ebola? >> he is a highly capable individual who can fulfill her responsibilities. >> reporter: one day later, the president changed course. >> it may be appropriate for me to appoint an additional person. >> reporter: and more shifts could come. pressure is building on the administration to reconsider a travel ban on flights from west africa. >> i believe it is the right policy to ban air travel from countries that have been hit hardest by the ebola outbreak. >> reporter: kay hagan broke from the president in calling for travel restrictions. with the president indicating he's listening -- >> i don't have a philosophical objection to a travel ban. >> reporter: the white house is no longer knocking it down. >> it's an option that will
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continue to be on the table. >> reporter: the administration announced it is speeding up production of ebola drugs and potentially a vaccine. as for ron klain, the white house would not say when he will be on the job over here at the white house. only that it will be very soon, perhaps as soon as next week. and he's expected to be in this role for five to six months. that's a sign of cautious optimism that perhaps they could beat the virus by then. >> thanks very much, similjim a. joining us now, republican congressman peter king of new york, key member of the house homeland security committee. congressman, you have confidence in ron klain to be the so-called ebola czar? >> wolf, i think he's very capable. i've never worked with him myself but i know he's highly regarded. i just wonder if he's the right person for this job. i would have preferred someone with a command presence, like former nypd commander ray kelly or colin powell.
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for instance, if there is an outbreak in a particular city or area, someone who can mobilize everyone that has to be brought together and has the absolute power to do that. but, listen, i wish him well. certainly i would hope that the congress will cooperate with him in every way. this is too important for partisan politics. and i hope that my misgivings are proven wrong. because i want him to succeed. this is too serious. >> it is indeed. i know you have strong views on many of the most sensitive issues. i want to discuss all of those with you, congressman. stand by. much more right after the break. go ahead and put your bag right here. have a nice flight! traveling can feel like one big mystery.
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dealdash.com for great deals. and start bidding today! we're following the breaking news. texas officials now asking dozens of health care workers who treated the ebola patient, thomas eric duncan, to sign an agreement limiting their movements. they're being asked to avoid public gatherings and commercial travel for three weeks. we're back with republican congressman peter king of new york, key member of the house homeland security committee. as you well know, a passenger died of natural causes on a flight from nigeria to jfk international airport in new york on thursday. officials are saying this person did not have ebola. but you're taking issue. you're very concerned about the way this was handled. tell us why. >> yes, wolf, i am. first of all, we've seen so much uncertainty from the cdc over the last several weeks. first we were told, it's almost impossible to be communicated, for people to catch it, if you
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will. and then we find out now more than 800 people are being tracked who could have been on the same plane with one of the nurses. in this case in jfk in new york, it was a 63-year-old person. he died on the way over on the plane. and was seen vomiting on the plane. now, the cdc went on the plane -- i was contacted by local workers there who observed this. and said that -- it was decided this person did not have ebola. and the police and customs people had to remove the body from the plane. their concern was, how certain could they be that that person did not have ebola, those bodily fluids were not infected with ebola? they also raised the issue that they have these tests being given at these locations at the airport. but before someone gets there to be tested, they walk through almost the entire airport. they can use restaurants, meeting are other passengers from other flights. then they finally get tested and
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when they are tested, what happens if they're positive? what's done to protect the worker who carried out the test or did the screening? a lot more has to be done as far as protocols and procedures. the cdc's been so wrong over the last several weeks basically saying it was impossible to get it to know monitoring 800 people who just may have been on a plane with this one nurse. >> but, congressman, let me make it clear, in this particular case, there was no ebola. they turned out with hindsight to be right. they handled it correctly, right? >> right. absolutely. i don't know if they handled it igt. the decision turned out to be right. but do we know they could do that quick an examination of someone and conclude the person did not have ebola? many people came into contact with the gentleman down in texas and they didn't get ebola but two of them did.
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i'm saying let's make sure the protocols are in place. i asked basically the h.h.s. secretary, d.h.s. secretary to get back to us and also customs and border protection to make sure that the protocols are working. the workers at the airport are very concerned that not enough is being done to protect them. and in view of all that's gone wrong over the last several weeks, i'd rather be safe than sorry. >> i read your tough letter to the secretary of homeland security, jeh johnson, and the commissioner of the u.s. customs and border protection. but specifically, what so-called ongoing vulnerabilities are there for these workers at jfk international airport and presumably at other airports around the country as well? >> the fact that i was saying before they get to a screening center, before they can be tested -- at jfk airport every day, we get 70 to 100 people
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from west africa coming into jfk. they get off the plane. they walk -- it's at least a ten-minute walk through parts of the airport, mingling with other passengers, mingling with passengers from other planes. during that walkthrough, they can stop at restrooms, they're in contact with many people. when they finally get screened, the person who was screening or testing them has no protective gear on like the nurses had. what happens to that worker if the person does prove to test positive? how about all the people that have come in contact with this person who is walking through the airport? if we're so concerned about the 800 people that have been in contact with the nurse, think how concerned we'd have to be about having a person walking through a place like jfk. >> sounds to me like the only way to prevent what your fears are would be a travel ban for all passengers coming in from west africa, whether liberia, sierra leone, guinea, is that
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right? >> yes, wolf. i support and i did not originally but i do now support a ban on all travelers from those countries. so basically i would call and i think chairman mike mccaul are asking for a suspension of the visas of anyone coming from those west african countries. while there's very few flights from west africa, as we saw with the man from liberia, they can go to a european country and come over. so anyone who has a passport from one of those countries would have their visas suspended and wouldn't be able to travel into the united states. >> what about american citizens who may be volunteers over there, doctors without borders or samaritans purse, some of the doctors who are there? should they be allowed to come back to the united states? >> yes, they should. we should make special provisions for medical professionals going back and
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forth. the ultimate resolution to this is going to be a medical solution in west africa. and i think american doctors are central to that. but there's a difference between allowing american doctors and american medical paesersonnel travel back and forth than having random west african citizens coming into the 90s. >> peter king, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. state officials asking dozens of dallas health care workers to stay away from public gatherings for three weeks. and we have details of other brand-new restrictions. when folks think about what they get from alaska, they think salmon and energy. but the energy bp produces up here creates something else as well: jobs all over america. engineering and innovation jobs. advanced safety systems & technology. shipping and manufacturing. across the united states, bp supports more than a quarter million jobs. when we set up operation in one part of the country, people in other parts go to work. that's not a coincidence. it's one more part of our commitment to america.
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news just coming in to "the situation room."
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the centers for disease control and prevention says it will be releasing updated personal protective equipment guidelines very soon. the guidelines tell health care workers around the country how to properly put on and remove protective gowns, masks, eye protection, gloves and other equipment. critics say the current guidelines don't provide adequate protection. we're also following other breaking news. a top dallas health official being monitored for symptoms of ebola after she was possibly exposed to the virus at the bedside of thomas eric duncan, the first person diagnosed with ebola in the united states. cnn's reporter is in dallas for us with the very latest. what do you know? >> reporter: that official is one of dozens of health care workers here in dallas who are being asked to restrict their movement while they are still at risk for infection. cnn confirms that dallas county's own top epidemiologist is under ebola watch. dr. wendy chung who had direct contact with thomas eric duncan is one of more than 70 health
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care workers currently being monitored for signs of ebola infection. this as texas struggles with the backlash over its handling of the disease. governor rick perry is admitting mistakes and announcing new measures. >> we must admit along the way we have seen ample opportunity for improvement, considering this was the first time that ebola has been diagnosed on american shores. it's perhaps understandable that mistakes were made. but it's also unacceptable. >> reporter: among the new directives, establishment of ebola treatment centers, improved training for health care workers and tighter travel restrictions for those at high risk for infection. in conjunction with the texas state health department, perry also put out a travel ban on those dallas health care workers who entered the room of the first u.s. ebola patient, thomas eric duncan. the ban applies to all travel on airplanes, buses and trains.
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those at risk were also asked to sign a pledge to avoid all public locations, including restaurants, grocery stores and theaters. perry's press conference comes amid criticism that he has been slow to react and that the state of texas was not prepared to handle the ebola threat. perry returned thursday from a european trip that began on thursday. the day nurse nina pham became the first american to contract ebola on u.s. soil. while he was abroad, a second dallas nurse was diagnosed with ebola. both texas nurses have been transferred out of state to be cared for in special facilities. at last check, nina pham is stable and resting comfortably. amber vinson was transferred earlier this week to emory university hospital in atlanta. a family member tells cnn, her fiance is staying at a hotel here in dallas and that he is self-monitoring for symptoms. wolf? >> alina, thanks very much. let's get more now from dr.
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zerwah. do you have an update on the epidemiologist who was in contact with thomas eric duncan, the liberian man who died of ebola in dallas? >> thanks, wolf, for having me. no, i have no specific update on dr. chung. she is one of the 70 that's being monitored, ongoing monitored with temperature checks twice a day and face fogh face meetings to ensure if she develops symptoms of ebola she will be immediately and properly handled after that. >> what did she do that potentially put her at risk? >> again, i don't have any primary information about that. i only know what was reported, that she was evaluated as having contact with mr. duncan, like all of the other 70 workers who were on that list. and she's being appropriately monitored. i have no specific details about her contact. >> all right. i'm sure we're going to get some answers. i know you want answers on this as well. there's obviously enormous
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concern. amber vinson, the second nurse who got ebola in the hospital because of the treatment she was providing to thomas eric duncan, why did it take amber vinson getting on two flights to draw up these restrictions for the medical workers there in dallas to not leave the town, not go on planes, not go anyplace else? what happened? where did this slip up, in other words? >> well, we're still really early in the process. but the information that we had is that she was on self-monitoring and she actually made appropriate calls to see if she could travel, if she had been told not to travel by the cdc, she would not have traveled. unfortunately, the information we have, that she was given the okay. that really led to the state taking proactive action, sending out specific travel restriction orders through dr. lakey to all those on monitoring. as you've reported earlier, also
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informing them that they're restricted from large public gatherings, et cetera. that's the way it went down. we're going to look at that more carefully but that's the best information we have right now. >> do you know if she checked before she left dallas for cleveland -- we know she checked in cleveland. but before she even left dallas, did she check with anyone? >> we don't have any specific information on that. and we are looking into that. but i have no specific information whether she checked before she left dallas. >> her uncle told cnn's don lemon that she checked with officials in dallas, she didn't check directly with the cdc. is that your information as well? >> our best information at this point in time is that she checked with health care professionals from the county who called the cdc. and the cdc made the decision about whether her flight could go or not, whether she could go
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on that flight or not. again, that's the best information we have right now. we're going to be looking to that into more detail. but that's the best current information we have. she did not contact anyone from the state health department. >> so let's talk a little bit about dallas/ft. worth, the airport there. other texas airports. should they have ebola health screenings? >> i think the health screenings have been implemented or are in the process of being implemented. i think we have to be realistic, though, that the health screenings really rely on people self-reporting their contact and whether they have a fever or not. with a 21-day incubation period like mr. duncan, it is very possible to go through screening and not have a fever or undergo a variety of measures to mask that fever and still get in the country. so i think these screenings are an added benefit. and i think we certainly should do them. we should provide education to people coming. but we can't rely on them to keep people who are potentially infected out of our region, out
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of our state or our country. >> do you expect more ebola cases in texas? >> it is certainly possible while we still have people on the monitoring list for there to be additional cases. we are coming towards the end of the period and we're not there yet, for the original 48 contacts of mr. duncan. but statistically, they are doing very well and we're all hoping and praying they're out of the period. but there certainly could be more cases. as has been said and i've said many times, an epidemic anywhere is a threat to people everywhere. as long as there's an ongoing ebola crisis in africa with thousands and potentially up to hundreds of thousands of cases, we will see ebola here again in the united states. and we have to be better prepared for it. and that's the purpose of our task force. our task force is to really provide scientific information but also to have lessons learned and to make immediate recommendations. again, one of the ones we said
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today is, it is not true, we do not believe that every hospital in this country can take care of ebola patients. and that's why we have recommended and we believe the state is taking action immediately on that to have specified ebola treatment facilities who are highly prepared, highly skilled, highly practiced and have the best technology to take care of these patients. >> good advice. but obviously it's going to take some time to gear up, to create those kinds of facilities. right now, there are basically four hospitals in the united states that have that capability. >> well, we don't really agree with that. we think we have capable centers -- i named one today. at ut medical branch in galveston, they've trained thousands of people throughout the world in the appropriate garbing and protection against these kinds of pathogens. and of course we want and we have asked and governor perry and myself asked secretary burwell today to enhance our cooperation and make sure the cdc works with our people to
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make sure best practices are shared. but we believe utmb galveston is a qualified facility to take care of ebola patients. we have a second facility we're working with right now that we believe can do that in the very near future. again, we want the cdc -- we cherish the collaboration we have. so we want to make sure that it all works and we're sharing best practices. but this is not a long-term thing. we think we have solutions now. >> one quick follow-up, doctor. was it under consideration to send those two nurses who contracted ebola from mr. duncan to galveston, to that hospital in galveston as opposed to sending these two nurses to atlanta or bethesda, maryland? >> it was a consideration. but certainly of all the groups that got together -- and i was part of that group -- we felt it was the best decision at that point to send them to the pre-existing laboratories that have a track record -- facilities that have a track
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record in taking care of these patients p. while they had the capacity, that's the right thing to do. and we can all take a second, third and fourth look to make sure that our centers are consistent with the best practices. as you said earlier on, the best practices, even by the cdc, have evolved tremendously over the past two weeks. and what we thought was safe in the guidelines two weeks ago have been dramatically altered. so this is a time really for all of us to get on the same page to work with the cdc productively. our experts at galveston are highly qualified and, again, trained most of the people around the country. so we think that collaboration will assure the best practices. but, no, there was no hesitancy to send the nurses to the other ebola centers around the country. >> doctor, thank you for joining us. >> you're welcome. >> good luck to you and all the men and women who are dealing with this crisis. >> thank you, sir. stay with us. we're following the breaking news on the efforts to keep
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ebola from spreading here in the united states. also, the reason for today's rare public appearance by the parents of missing university of virginia student hannah graham. kid: hey dad, who was that man? dad: he's our broker. he helps looks after all our money. kid: do you pay him? dad: of course. kid: how much? dad: i don't know exactly. kid: what if you're not happy? does he have to pay you back? dad: nope. kid: why not? dad: it doesn't work that way. kid: why not? vo: are you asking enough questions about the way your wealth is managed? wealth management at charles schwab
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as the search for a missing of university student moves into a new phase, there was a poignant moment this afternoon in charlottesville, virginia. hannah graham's parents joined the parents of a young woman who vanished on this date in 2009. morgan harrington's body was found several months later. police now say there's some forensic evidence linking that case to the main suspect in hannah graham's disappearance.
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investigative journalist coy barrel is joining us. you're learning new information about the search for hannah graham. what can you tell us? >> reporter: it was five weeks ago tonight that hannah graham was last seen and it was five years ago tonight that morgan harrington was last scene. i can report for the first time that sources close to the search are telling me that the search dogs have indicated, that's the word we use when a search dog believes they have found what they're looking for. we should add that i have no confirmation about what they have found or exactly where they have found it. but sources close to the search say they are encouraged by the indications of some of the search dogs. we learned that the fbi academy at quantico will be out here this weekend in charlottesville. there will be a large public event on sunday called the "hike for hannah" that will bring
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volunteers into an over 500-acre park just south of charlottesville that will allow a number of new volunteers, hundreds of people, to help look for any sign of hannah graham. >> the dogs -- we have not confirmed that this is a legitimate lead right now. this is just a hope, is that what you're saying, coy? they may have detected something but we have no idea whether or not it's the real -- what they're really looking for, is that right? >> reporter: that's exactly right. the sources told me that they're encouraged that they have some indications from some of the search dogs. i cann i cannot confirm exact when or where that was. but i can confirm they are going back and looking in some of those locations where the dogs have indicated. and that i know they continue to do. >> i want you to stand by, coy. tom fuentes is standing by. there's more to discuss. we'll take a break. much more on the hernsearch for
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we're following the breaking news in the search for the missing university of student hannah graham. sources selling the investigative journalist coy barefoot that searchers will be digging in a spot indicated by search dogs. coy is still with us from charlottesville. we're also joined by cnn law enforcement analyst tom fuentes, former assistant director of the fbi. what's the track record, tom, of these dogs when they sniff something that may or may not be real? >> to be honest, wolf, by experience with the dogs has been mixed. sometimes they do great work,
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sometimes they miss something they shouldn't have missed. we just hope that these dogs are accurate. >> coy, do they think they're onto something over there? >> reporter: i will tell you this, wolf, the police lead thing investigation, the guys in charge of the search, they are absolutely convinced that they will find hannah graham, and they are committed passionately to this project. they just want to find her and brick her home to her mom and dad. the grahams were out there on the bridge today marking the anniversary of the disappearance of morgan harrington five years ago tonight. as somebody who loves this community, a scholar who teaches at the university of virginia, as a journalist, and the dad of a little girl, i stood out on that bridge today and wept like a baby to see all of these family members who had come forward to mark this anniversary and thank this community for their continued commitment to finding these women.
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and it's something we will absolutely keep doing until we bring them home. >> let me play a little clip. this is morgan's mother speaking earlier today. >> they say it takes a village to raise a child. i have learned it also takes a community, a village, to mourn a child. >> very poignant words. tom, i believe that there's an intense interest to find hannah graham, to do the right thing. it seems based on what we've been hearing and we've been covering this closely, authorities are doing all the right things, right? >> yeah, they're doing everything they can. this is just so intensely emotional for every family, in the hannah graham case and all the prior cases. it's just terrible they have to go through this. >> coy, there's no indication anyone is letting up, right? >> that's absolutely true. i have heard some sources in law enforcement, they're starting to ask the question, how long can this search keep up?
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this is the longest running, most complicated search for anyone in the history of virginia. i asked the chief of police of charlottesville this morning, how long can you keep this up? and he said, we will keep this up until we find hannah and bring her home. >> coy barefoot, we'll continue to check in with you. thank you very much. tom fuentes, thanks to you, as well. coming up, breaking news in the fight against ebola. we're live at the national institutes of health where officials reveal a change in the condition of the nurse from dallas. and details of the measures being taken to quarantine a dallas hospital worker who is on a cruise ship with thousands of other passengers. we'll be right back. [ female announcer ] we help make secure financial tomorrows a reality
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happening now. ebola alert. new efforts to keep the disease from spreading in america. up to 800 airline passengers are now being tracked down. even a cruise ship passenger is under quarantine. ebola czar. president obama names a former white house insider to oversee the federal response as emergency efforts ramp up to protect health care workers and to develop a vaccine and treatment. new terror threat. why chaos and a possible government collapse half a world away could boost the chances of an al qaeda attack right here in the united states. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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>> this is cnn breaking news. >> we've got the breaking news in the ebola crisis. there are now new efforts under way to track down people who may have been exposed to the disease. two nurses from dallas are being treated in two different specialized hospitals. frontier airlines is trying to contact nearly 1,000 passengers from a plane that amber vinson was on. and a dallas hospital worker is under quarantine on a cruise ship after possible contact with the liberian man who died from ebola in dallas. even the chief of epidemiologist in dallas is being monitored of possible exposure. a federal official says the centers for disease control will soon issue new protective equipment guidelines to help keep health care workers safe. all of this as president obama finally names an ebola czar.
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he will be charged with coordinating the entire federal response. our correspondents, our analysts and newsmakers are all standing by. let's begin with the move to quarantine a dallas hospital worker, one of thousands of passengers aboard a cruise ship. renee? >> reporter: wolf, this is a seven-day cruise and someone on board is being monitored for the deadly ebola virus. it's enough to raise concern, but experts say the risk is low. meantime, there's an exhaustive mission under way to find everyone who had contact with ebola patient amber vinson after she flew from dallas to cleveland. tonight, the cdc is working to track 16 people who were near or had contact with amber vinson when she was in northeast ohio. >> additional work is being done to that list and we may have changes to that list, which is why we're talking today. >> reporter: before being
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diagnosed, vinson flew round trip from dallas to cleveland. frontier airlines is notifying up to 800 passengers, including those who flew with her and those who later traveled on one of the same planes. >> i'm more worried than i am angry. you know, it's one of those things where it happened, now i just want to be positive and deal with it and move on. >> reporter: also tonight, a lab supervisor from the hospital where ebola patient thomas eric duncan died, remains quarantined on a cruise ship. he's one of the more than 4,000 passengers on board. >> i think it's more of a "holy cow, we're on a boat with an ebola scare." i don't think it's i need to get after of here. >> reporter: the woman never had contact with duncan but may have had contact with his fluids statement. in a statement, the cruise line says, at no point in time has the individual exhibited any symptoms or signs of infection and it's been 19 days since she
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was in the lab with the testing samples. the tech boarded the ship on october 12 before being notified of increased monitoring. >> i wouldn't be concerned at all. in a vast excess of caution, she is isolating herself. which from a sign risk based assessment is unnecessary. >> reporter: the ship is currently returning to texas. mexico refused to allow it to dock and a request by the u.s. government to evacuate through belize was rejected. that ship arrives in texas on sunday. as for the people on board the two flights, the dallas nurse took, the airline tells me it has contacted everyone. the cdc, though, is still in the process. wolf? >> renee, thank you. the dallas nurse, nina pham, the first person to contract ebola in the united states, was moved overnight to the national institutes of health in
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bethesda, maryland. that's where brian todd is joining us with more. brian, what have you learned? >> reporter: nina pham is nearing the end of her first full day of treatment here, and the director of the national institute of allergies and infectious diseases described the atmosphere as very intense. tonight, nina pham is sealed off in a high containment chamber. she's got specialists with her 24-7, including two doctors who will always be with her. one an infectiouinfectious dise specialist. five nurses on each shift, each shift 12 hours. two will be with her at all times. but dr. fauci did put her isolation in perspective. >> she's in isolation, but she has almost continual
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person-to-person contact. we have nurses going in, doctors going in, a screen in the nurse's -- where we can speak to her. she has her ipad, all of the things she has. when we say isolation, this isn't a torture chamber. this is an individual who is constantly being cared for, cheered up. our nurses are spectacular and they do that all the time. >> reporter: now, we have to emphasize there is no direct treatment for ebola as our dr. sanjay gupta said. there's no magic potion in the way of a medicine that you can give an ebola patient. so they have to treat nina pham's symptoms here. that means she's going to be receiving fluids, potassium, antibiotics. the key question is, can she fully recover? dr. fauci addressed that, as well. >> when you say recoverable, in the sense of recovering, absolutely. we fully intend to have this
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patient walk out of this hospital, and will do everything we can to make that happen. >> reporter: while they take care of nina pham, they're also taking care of the care givers who are attending to her. that's a critical component of this, wolf. they're monitoring these people 24-7. each doctor and nurse is wearing a haz/mat suit. the air in her room will never circulate. they are working with the buddy system. that means each nurse and doctor is monitored by a buddy when they go into a room they are monitored. they're watched when they undress from their isolation gowns. it is strictly monitored here, wolf, because they do not want to have a breach of protocol. >> if they can't be bread via the air, why do they have to take that specific precaution. have they explained that? >> reporter: it really is just out of an abundance of caution, wolf. they just don't want any potential fluids circulating in
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the air. one doctor described that component of not letting outside air in et cetera, as not a must have, but something you do want to have just out of caution. >> her condition, the listing of her condition, that's become a serious issue as well, right? >> reporter: sure has, wolf. she was improving steadily since sunday when we learned of her diagnosis. she was listed in good condition. today she was listed in fair condition, which is a downgrade. but they have emphasized that it's because of fatigue from her trip from dallas. it was a long strip. she had to be monitored constantly and that's the only reason she's listed in fair condition. they expect her to improve fairly rapidly. >> brian todd, thank you. amber vinson, the second nurse to contact ebola is being treated at emery hospital in atlanta, georgia. dr. sanjay gupta is joining us from atlanta right now. sanjay, tell us about what's
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happening inside the emery hospital with the people taking care of amber. >> reporter: this is the same team that took care of the other patients, five doctors, 21 nurses. so it's 26 people total. they work in shifts. that's why you have so many of them. it's a far lower number than what you heard about in dallas where they get close to 80 people that may have come in contact with mr. duncan. let me just build on something, they also have very strict biocontainment units. not because ebola is a respiratory pathogen, it's just the way these units are set up. they are set up a lot of times because people would come here, field workers from the centers for disease control, with some sort of infectious disease and they didn't know what it was.
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so they would basically go full bore in terms of protection until they zeroed in on it. but no one should read into that, that ebola is, could be, maybe is possibly airborne. it is not. >> that's a good explanation. i want to show you and our viewers new pictures. this is the dallas hospital where the liberian died, the two nurses contracted ebola. these are hospital workers. they're rallying to support the hospital, which has come under, as you well know, sanjay, a lot of criticism for the way it's handled this ebola crisis. as you also know, federal officials say the cdc, the centers for disease control, will soon issue new protective equipment guidelines. shea should have been doing this a long time ago, but these new guidelines, i assume they will keep the health care workers, the doctors and nurses, the others safe. >> reporter: yep. i think you're absolutely right.
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one of the basic tenants is the previous guidelines did not seem ai adequate in terms of protection. if you looked at some of the previous guidelines, the neck, for example, skin on the neck was potentially not covered. there was also sorts of explanations saying if you don't have direct contact, your protection doesn't have to be as strong. what you'll see is more consistent guideline. everyone will be protected regardless how intense your contact is. if you're in the room with a patient with ebola, you should have full protection. that's what we'll see here. >> these hospital workers there in dallas, they're rallying the support of their hospital, which has come under a lot of criticism. as you know, the obama administration says it's working as quickly as possible on scaling up ebola vaccines, drug production. give us a little context, what
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does that mean, how long before there is a vaccine? how long before there is an effective drug treatment? >> reporter: with regard to the vaccine, maybe within the next month and a half we'll have a trial that's completed in terms of showing something safe out there. after that, you can start to make it more widely available to people. i think they first want to make it more wide hi to people in west africa deemed to be at risk, and ultimately the health care workers who may come into contact with patients with ebola. what this means when they're fast tracking it is that it's already being fast tracked. now how the department of health and human services. so can they combine the knowledge from these different trials to arrive at a product more quickly. it's the same thing with the medications. we talked about zmapp being a
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medication given. could this be made in larger volumes? there's many different steps to make that happen and they're working on that. growing a tobacco plant, which can be the reservoir where the medication is developed, creating the antibodies, making the production more widely available and quicker. all of that is being worked on now for obvious reasons, wolf. >> i want you to stay with us. we have many more questions to ask. but i want to move on to another important aspect of this breaking news. government leaders, health care professionals, they are trying to put the ebola threat in perspective. but i want you to listen to the secretary of state john kerry sounding a very, very grim warning. >> if we don't adequately address this current outbreak now, then ebola has potential to become a scourge like hiv or polio, that we will end up fighting, all of us, for decades. >> for decades.
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let's discuss what he just said with marie hearth. thank you very much for coming in. we're being criticized, the news media, for getting overly alarmist about what's going on. but when the secretary of state says, this could be a scourge like hiv or polio that we could end up fighting, all of us, for decades. is he going too far? >> not at all. he was briefing the ambassadors at the state department on the ebola crisis. what he went on to say our response has to be driven by the science, not fear, about how you can contain this disease. he was updating them on our efforts, but also calling on countries around the world to do more. we need other countries to stand up, to give resources, to give doctors and nurses to send people to help. based on the science of how we contain this and not fear or misinformation. >> the united states is sending
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up to 4,000 troops over there. i don't see a lot of other countries getting involved. >> we've been calling on down tris. he's made dozens of phone calls, raised this in every meeting he has, asking other countries to send what resources they have. maybe that's money. we have a huge u.n. appeal for money. we haven't raised very much. put more money into this. give resources if you have them. they are ways we can contain this disease in west africa. that's the way our experts have said the best way we can fight it. >> there's a carnival cruise ship in the caribbean. it asked to make a stop in belize to drop off one hospital worker from dallas so this person could be sent back to the united states because this person was in contact with thomas eric duncan, the liberian man who died of ebola. belize said no, you can't drop off this passenger there. you deal with these foreign countries. what happened here? >> well, again, as i said
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earlier today in the state department press briefing, we were disappointed by this. decisions like this need to be based on information and science and not fear. even though we know this is a serious disease, serious threat. the ship is on its way back to texas right now. it's expected to dock on sunday. obviously, we'll be giving any care to this individual that is needed, and we'll keep having the conversation with countries if something like this arises again. >> belize said no. mexico said no, too? >> the mexican government -- there was some discussion, but regardless, the ship is on its way back to the u.s. when cases like this arise, we will have discussions with governments about what they can do. >> i think it's fair to say that the state department is disappointed, not only in belize, but also in mexico? >> when it comes to belize, we made clear this could have been
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handled differently. with mexico, it's a little more difficult. they did indicate some willingness to let the ship dock there. we're just focused on how to go forward now. >> what have you heard about the condition of this passenger? >> unfortunately we can't share a lot at this point because of privacy considerations. i heard an earlier report, i know carnival put out a statement. but we need to look at the facts and the information and not some of the misinformation out there about people who may have come in contact with this person or fluids, as say said in this case. >> when i heard that belize wouldn't let this one passenger drop off so the passenger could be flown back, i said belize, the united states of america can't just ask belize to do something, a favor for the united states, and belize says no to the united states? that's pretty shocking. >> again, we think this could have been handled differently. we know there's a great deal of fear about this. we know it's very serious. no one is trying to down play that.
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but there are procedures that can be put into place to assure the safe passage of people who may have come into contact who can ensure there are procedures followed. >> what's the latest on a travel ban for people from west africa in >> it's not something we're considering right now. if you cut off the legitimate ways for people to travel, they will still travel. they will just do so elicitly, so you can't track them. >> why not make it harder to come to the united states? >> we have implemented certain procedures to screen people. if people come into an embassy looking for a visa and they're sick, we have procedures in place to note that and prevent that. if you cut off ways for people to travel, they'll just travel elicitly and do so dangerously. you won't be able to monitor them if they are sick and you can't contain this through a visa ban. that's not the way to handle it. you don't take any option off the table but we're not considering that. >> you're not considering
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revoking individuals from these ebola countries? they can still come, is that what you're staying? >> that's correct. if they show signs of illness when they get to the airport or the united states, obviously they can be dealt with through the department of homeland security or other ways. so there are ways to prevent people who are visibly sick from coming into the united states. we are not considering that at this time. you cannot contain this disease by preventing people. >> mr. duncan showed no visible sign when he entered the united states. >> again, that's not how you contain this. if you cut off the legitimate avs for people to come into the united states, that pushes them into the elicit arena, which prohibits us from being able to track them. >> marie, thank you very much for coming in. the deputy spokeswoman for the state department, appreciate it. still ahead, much more on the breaking ebola news. we'll be joined once again by dr. sanjay gupta and a panel of medical experts. and the president names what is being described as an ebola
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feel that in your muscles? yeah... i do... try a new way to bank, where no branches equals great rates. back to the breaking news. urgent efforts under way to track down people who may have been exposed to u.s. ebola patients, including 800 passengers who flew on a plane with an infected nurse. with dozens of health care workers being monitored, the centers for disease control plans to issue new guidelines for protective equipment. joining us once again, our chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta. gavin mcgregor-skinner from penn
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state university. and with me here in "the situation room," erin tolbert, an emergency room nurse practitioner. sanjay, i'm curious, one of the nurses who is there in the hospital, nina pham, her condition went from good when she was in dallas to now being fair. she's at nih in bethesda, maryland. what does that tell you? >> i don't know that i would read too much of that. when a patient is transfer, the condition is slightly downgraded because the hospital wants to create these assessments themselves and it requires them evaluating themselves, maybe looking at lab values and different things. having said there, she did get off the plane and we saw her late last night, she walked to the ambulance. that's obviously a good sign. but also she is starting to
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enter now what would be considered the more concerning phase of the disease. so she has ebola. there are different phases of the disease. we know she is going to be getting into one of the more serious phases and will be monitored and cared for very, very closely. >> what you're saying is that she's going to get worse before she gets better, is that what you're saying? >> i think so. there's no two patients exactly the same. someone's course of their illness can vary. but if you look at how patients sort of behave, this is going to be one of the more serious times before she gets better, wolf. >> gavin, let's talk about what's going on. these nurses, they contracted ebola from thomas eric duncan, the liberian man diagnosed with ebola in the united states. but his girlfriend, others in the apartment where he was staying in dallas, none of them so far, we're grateful for this,
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have become sim toe mymptomatic. is there a reason why come people contract ebola and some do not is >> we know that this virus has to come through the eyes, the nose or the mouth. the family may have had contact with the virus on the skin. as long as there wasn't an open wound, they may not have moved their hands to their face while they were in contact with mr. duncan. this is information we don't have, but information we could get by talking with them and discussing their activities. >> is it troubling to you, erin, and you're a nurse practitioner, we still don't know how these two nurse contracted ebola? >> somewhat. but you can see how they would have gotten it. we know they weren't wearing the proper protective equipment. their necks were exposed.
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this equipment is very difficult to take off. dr. gupta has a video online and he touched his neck and forearm taking it off. so there's been talk that the virus can replicate. we haven't seen that in practice yet. so i think it's safe to assume that they did get it from not wearing proper equipment. >> sanjay, let me just follow up on that. if you touch your neck, that's enough to get ebola? >> it can be. if you have the ebola virus on your glove, for example, if you've been caring for the patient and you touch your neck or some of the bodily fluid as you're caring for the patient gets on your skin, that can be enough. that's what we've been talking about in terms of something being highly infectious versus being highly contagious. it's not airborne, but it can be highly infectious, meaning just
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a small amount can cause an infection in somebody else. >> are you concerned that this ebo ebola virus could mutate and become airborne, if you will? >> what i'm concerned about at the moment is the amount of virus in west africa. we have to intensify our efforts in west africa. the more it circulates in west africa, the greater chance it has of mutating. but we have many experts throughout the world studying this virus daily, to see if there's in change on the virus to lead to becoming aerosol. that's really important we say on top of that. research and we intensify the efforts in west africa. >> there has to be better protection and better training many are saying. health professionals have to learn a lot right now.
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here's the question to you, are people ready to deal with this crisis right now? >> not yet. these things take a long time to put into practice. what do you do with the waste? which room are you going to ice hate the patient in? hospitals are starting to have meetings, they're looking at this closely and getting feedback from nurses. in my hospital, they were saying you need to double glove if you have a patient who seems like they could have ebola. a nurse said, have you ever tried to double glove the gloves that we have? it doesn't work really well. we need to change the brand we order. so these details are being worked out and working through the situation takes a lot of time. >> good luck to you and all your fellow nurse practitioners and the health care workers dealing with this crisis. appreciate it very much. sanjay, don't go too far. just ahead, more than two
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weeks after the first ebola case was diagnosed in the united states, the white house names an ebola czar. but without any medical experience, is he the right man for the job? while the world is focused on the fight against isis, a dangerous threat is emerging elsewhere in the middle east. we have new details. big day? ah, the usual. moved some new cars. hauled a bunch of steel. kept the supermarket shelves stocked. made sure everyone got their latest gadgets. what's up for the next shift? ah, nothing much. just keeping the lights on. (laugh) nice. doing the big things that move an economy. see you tomorrow, mac. see you tomorrow, sam. just another day at norfolk southern. i got this. [thinking] is it that time? the son picks up the check? [thinking] i'm still working. he's retired.
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energy lives here. they all lost their lives because of preventable medical errors, now the third leading cause of death. only heart disease and cancer take more lives. proposition 46 will save lives with drug and alcohol testing to make sure impaired doctors don't treat someone you love. safeguards against prescription drug abuse. and holds the medical industry accountable for mistakes. i'm barbara boxer. let's save lives. vote yes on 46.
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two weeks after the first ebola case was diagnosed in the united states, the white house now has a person for the outbreak, rob klain will join the administration as the so-called ebola czar. the move comes as critics were growing more vocal about the white house's response. jim acosta has the latest. >> reporter: white house officials have been brushing off calls for an ebola czar last night, but today, the president picked ron klain as the ebola response coordinator. he's well known in political circles in washington. the former chief of staff to vice presidents joe biden and al gore. the white house acknowledged he's more of a spin doctor than an actual doctor. >> what does ron klain know
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about ebola? >> what we were looking for is not an ebola expert but rather an implementation expert. that's what he is. he's somebody who has extensive experience in the federal government. he's somebody that has extensive management experience when it comes to the private sector. >> reporter: but he will still have to answer to two top white house officials, susan rice and lisa monaco. monaco was the ebola point person. somebody the white house said could handle both ebola and counterterrorism earlier this week. that changed in the last 24 hours. as for ron klain, he'll be on the job as soon as next week and will be there for the next five to six months. one other potential policy change, the white house says it is open to a travel ban on flights from west africa. the press secretary said that option is on the table. >> we just heard from marie hearth that option is not necessarily being considered. so it sounds like they're
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sending out different messages. is that what's going on? >> reporter: i think so, wolf. we went back and forth with the press secretary all week. they're trying to do it on one hand and on the other, they're trying to say that is not the preferred option, that the current screening measures in place are a much better route to take than to go for a full travel ban. but we might end up with something in the middle. they may try to do something with various travel restrictions on people coming in from that part of the world. keep in mind, you have senate candidates like kay hagan in north carolina, michelle nunn down in georgia saying they would like to see this travel ban. it might force the president's hand to do something. >> thank you very much, jim acosta at the white house. let's dig deeper. joining us, jeffrey toobin and our chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta is still with us. sanjay, what can this to-called
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ebola czar do that's not already being done? >> overseeing some of these things you were just talking to jim about. beside tls medical and science mart of this, the issue of travel is obviously a big travel. the interface with the military. there could be a few thousand troops now going to west africa and the travel ban and all that could affect that, as well. the whole notion of aid getting into west africa. hospital preparedness. all of these things. there's so many different concentric circles around ebola beyond just the science of the virus and how it's transmitted and the medical treatment of it. i think having one person who can oversee all those things, i think there's some real value in it. >> jeffrey, you know ron klain. is he qualified? >> he's certainly not a scientist, but he's devoted the bulk of his career to trying to make government work. when he worked for vice
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president biden, something i know he spent a great deal of time on was the implementation of the american recovery act, the stimulus program. that was a real biden project. that involved lots of different cabinet departments. and this certainly is a project that cuts across homeland security, health and human services, centers for disease control. and they have to all be working in the same direction. his skrjob is to make sure they not only working in the same direction but sound like they're working in the same direction. >> sanjay, you were a white house fellow. you understand this issue better than ini know. should someone with a real medical background have been named to put this whole team together? >> it's funny, i got a lot of e-mails today from senior people within the organized medicine world bemoaning the fact that this was not a medical person. i don't know that it needs to be a medical person, because all
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these various departments, that part of the job, coordinating that response from homeland security, transportation, defense, i don't know that a medical person would be able to do that. they may not have the skill set to do that. so as long as people like dr. tom frieden and dr. anthony fau fauci are engaged by ron klain, i don't know that ron's position needs to be a medical person. >> we know that one issue hovering over all this, there is no surgeon general in the united states right now. there's an acting surgeon general, but the nominee that the president put forward has still not been confirmed by the united states senate. that's another issue we'll discuss on another occasion. jeffrey, thank you very much. sanjay, thanks to you, as well. just ahead, chaos in the streets of an important american ally. where al qaeda is now fighting for control.
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as the united states steps up air strikes on isis targets in syria and iraq, chaos in another middle east nation could mean a new al qaeda threat to the united states. that's led president obama to place a phone call to his counterpart in yemen. barbara starr is working this story for us. what are you learning? >> reporter: there was very good reason for president obama to check in on yemen today. isis, iraq, syria, they are huge problems, but the chaos in yemen poses a direct threat to the united states. in yemen's capital, dozens killed and injured in a suicide blast. al qaeda believed to be behind it. the victim, a shia rebel group
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that's taken over parts of the capital and other key areas of the country. cnn has learned the u.s. intelligence community is now urgently worried yemen's fragile government may even lose control of the capital, and that raises critical concerns that yemen's al qaeda branch could move in and suck steeld with its long-standing threat to attack the united states. al qaeda operatives already stepping up attacks inside yemen. >> the yemen government, just to survive, has to focus on the huti threat right now. so in other words, al qaeda, the one organization that we're seeing or one organization that we're seeing that is most directly plotting against the u.s. homeland has taken a back seat. >> reporter: yemen is now so precarious, the u.s. is keeping an amphibious warship with
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helicopters and a marine contingent on board, ready to move in and evacuate americans if needed. just last month, president obama touted yemen as a success in fighting al qaeda. >> this strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines is one that we have successfully pursued in yemen. >> reporter: while the u.s. continues the occasional drone strike against al qaeda leaders in yemen, this is the group that gathered more than 100 operat e operatives in the open earlier this year. the state department offered $45 million in rewards for information on key members who remain at large, including the leader. >> president obama's comment that this organization has largely been defeated is simply not true. they have survived. they have continued to present a threat. >> reporter: of course, it is al qaeda in yemen. al qaeda in yemen that has developed that crucial bomb making technology that the u.s.
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worries would potentially bypass airport screening procedures. a very direct threat to the united states. wolf? >> barbara, thank you very much. let's dig deeper on this new terror threat. joining us, retired general mark hurtling, and former cia operative phil mudd. general, the president of the united states called the yemeni president today, expressing his continued support. what is your analysis? >> i think it's a continual overwatch of the al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. all across the horn of africa, there are different organizations like this continuing to conduct uprisings. the threats from the entire area continuing to be monitored. phil would have more view on that. >> phil, what do you think? do these al qaeda and their affiliates have free reign right
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now in yemen and maybe libya, as well? >> not yet. but let me give you a simple calculous. when local insurgents, like what we see in yemen, in libya, when they send to spend less time on focusing staging attacks on new york and washington. what we have had is a yemen president who is good about working with us against al qaeda in the arabian peninsula but he's diverted the focus on other targets, that is rebels up north. if al qaeda takes over in the capital of yemen, the risk is they'll spend less time about fighting the yemen army and shift back to think about how they strike the united states. >> yemen is a real source of huge concern, general. libya, this is a place where u.s., allies, they got rid of cruise missiles and qadhafi and
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now they virtually control the whole place. >> and i think what you see is central command watching this area for a very long time, wolf, even before i retired out of europe. this was an intelligent focus for the plilt and the northern -- military and northern part of africa. we have been following this closely. we have been distracting by events in iraq and syria and ebola. but this is a focus of attention and it has been for many years. >> as you know, phil, there are intelligence from syrian kurds on the ground in and around their besieged city of kobani for better airstrikes. is this a success or a turning point or is it too early to come to any conclusion? >> it is not a turning point yet. because you have to look at a
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simple principle in the intelligence business. you saw reports in the last 24 hours that turkey may allow drones out of turkey into syria. and that is important because if you are looking at the u.s. getting intelligence from syria, you need validation. somebody walks into an office and said here is where isis is, this is where isil is, you have to get others to validate that because human memories are faulty and from turkey, when you are getting this human information, to fly over and see if what they are telling you is true and potentially stage airstrikes against the target. but going without human intelligence is something i would worry about. >> thank you to both of you. we'll watch this story. much more ahead, the fight against ebola. plus the son of the vice president kicked out of the u.s. navy. stand by.
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we're learning new details
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about the failed drug test that led to joe biden's younger son being kicked out of the navy. susan malvo has the details. >> it is a sad story. it happened in february. but it was first reported yesterday from the wall street. they ip sift the vice president's son was treated like other applicants, the way he was commissioned and decharged. 44-year-old hunter biden, joe biden's youngest son was discharged from the navy reserve after testing poszive for -- positive for cocaine. he was assigned a coveted position as a affairs department position. but after reporting to his unit, biden was given a routine drug test which he failed. his brief military career ended with this statement it was the honor of my life to serve in the
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u.s. navy and i deeply regret and embarrassed that my actions led to my administrative discharge. hunter biden comes from a proud military family. his older brother is a major in the delaware army national guard and served a year in iraq. military service is a big part of the biden family public platform. >> i'm looking forward to stand by our son hunter when he is commissioned into the united states navy. he follows in the footsteps of his two grandfathers who also served in the navy. >> a source familiar with his case said he joined a special navy reserve program. because of his age, the cut-off is 42. but he was 43 when he applied. the sorgs said his strong -- the source said his strong academic record pushed him through. joe biden joked about his timing, unknowingly, just before
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he was discharged. >> we have a bad judgment in my family. my son who is over 40, 43 years old. >> and he was granted a summon, but they said the incident happened so long ago. and beau bide -- hunter biden is a married father of three and professor as a university. he worked as a lawyer and lobbyist and policymaker under clinton before joining his father on the campaign trail in 2008. and sources familiar with his case say the navy never contacted the white house, because they wouldn't call someone's mother or father to
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tell them they were kicked. and they see this as a private matter and not commenting. >> suzanne malveaux reporting. that is it for me. thanks for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." have a great weekend. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" tonight, breaking news. rare images on board the plane flying pham to the hospital. we'll talk to sanjay gupta. plus another healthcare worker with the connection to thomas eric duncan on a cruise. the ship racing back to texas tonight. and frontier airlines notifying 800 passengers who might have flown on the same plane as amber vinson. let's go "outfront." good evening. i'm eribu
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